The connection between applications and business needs is crucial. Organisations with aligned applications are dynamic and agile, able to stay one step ahead of their own needs, and the competition. On the other hand, when applications are no longer aligned, organisations can get left behind.
Applications should deliver maximum value; there is little point in aiming for anything less. With today’s organisations relying so heavily on digital technology, it makes sound business sense that IT should be strongly aligned with business needs. In fact, 64% of executives think that IT should better understand business goals. To do this, they need to ensure their applications are aligned.
Often applications have been around for a long time, they may have once been aligned with business needs, but they haven’t adapted with technology. Technology should integrate with operations to allow it to make the biggest possible impact on overall performance for the company. Applications should improve or even expand an organisation; they certainly shouldn’t restrict its growth.
The trick is spotting the telltale signs and doing something about it before the business suffers. Here are four signs to watch out for that suggest your app is no longer aligned with your business:
1. Maintenance Costs Are Too High
First and foremost, for an application to be aligned with business needs, it needs to be cost-effective. Applications often become more challenging to maintain over time. Every time a new change is required, more custom code is added. Making simple changes to highly customised apps can become increasingly time-consuming and expensive.
As applications begin to age, support can be increasingly difficult to source, which makes it an expensive commodity. If your application is no longer supported by its vendor, then you are likely spending a disproportionate amount of money trying to find the talent required to make the changes you need to keep your app, and possibly your business, up and running.
The total cost of ownership (TCO) can be used as a measure to determine if costs are too high. This includes the cost of startup costs and operational costs. Consider aspects like application downtime, upgrades, and adding additional functionality. If your app is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and support, it is likely to push your app’s TCO up dramatically. If maintenance costs are too high, then chances are your application isn’t aligned with your business needs.
2. Productivity Is Restricted
With the advent of mobile and cloud computing, the way we work has changed. Our workforces are no longer confined to the nine to five office-based environment. We are able to be more mobile and flexible in the way we work. Enabling employees to check their emails and manage administration tasks on the go means they can be a lot more productive. Applications should be able to support business processes and user behaviours, allowing users to be as productive as possible.
If your application is restricting user workflows and doesn’t fit with user behaviours, then the chances are that it hasn’t evolved to meet business demands. Organisations operate in multiple time zones, using various devices and users need to be able to access core company data as and when it’s required. If your application can’t be flexible to meet these demands, then it isn’t aligned with the needs of your business.
3. Integration with Other Systems Isn’t Possible
Businesses used to run solely on on-premises software, but now most have a combination of legacy and cloud applications. To align with business needs, regardless of type, applications must work together efficiently. To achieve this, they need to be able to integrate. Modern applications are created with integration in mind, working together sharing data and facilitating better workflows.
Integration enables the sharing of process and business data across an organisation’s applications. This results in improved workflows where there is seamless connectivity, ensuring data is aligned and readily available to those who need it. Applications that are no longer supported don’t inherently talk to each other. They require additional technology and complex custom coding to enable communication. This creates business silos that slow down business processes. If your application doesn’t ‘talk’ to your CRM, ERP or SAP system, then there’s a pretty good chance it is slowing your business down.
4. Opportunities Pass You By
To keep up with customer demands and business needs, organisations need to be able to adapt quickly. This means accessing data when it is required and scaling operations to meet opportunities as they arise. Older applications often have a substantial amount of code that isn’t relevant. This slows down operations, results in rigid change procedures and makes applications incredibly slow. The result is that applications begin to stand in the way of business development.
Modern applications offer many features that older apps don’t support. This includes the likes of enabling mobile data access, creating better reporting structures and automating manual processes. By working with an application that is slow to deliver, if it can deliver at all, innovation is hindered, and opportunities are missed. If an application isn’t flexible or scalable enough to allow you to win new business opportunities, it certainly isn’t aligned with business needs.
How to Align Your Applications With Business Needs
When your applications are aligned and moving in the same direction as your business, they reduce risk and drive growth. Apps, when working together for a unified goal, can help businesses to increase their profitability, productivity and efficiency.
If your application is showing signs of too costly, restrictive and inflexible, it’s time to consider a change. Azure Application modernisation involves refactoring, repurposing or consolidating applications to align more closely with business needs.